Laura Tribbey smiles and excuses herself as she dashes off after her daughter, Chelsea, whose baby blue dress disappears behind a corner into the kitchen.
Tribbey, 41, is one of three women currently living in the new transitional home for Lodi House on Walnut Street, a stone's throw away from Lodi House's thrift store on Lodi Avenue.
Tribbey and her 15-month-old daughter moved into the home in August, just one month after it was purchased by the organization.
Before that, Tribbey had lived with four other families in Lodi House as she and her daughter tried to recuperate from the death of Tribbey's husband, Keith Coronel.
Coronel had been shot in Stockton in November 2009 and had been suffering from his wounds ever since.
He died on Sept. 11, 2010.
Tribbey, who had been living with a friend in Stockton, moved to Lodi House in November.
Calling it a "soft place to land," Tribbey said the guidance and support she has received since moving to Lodi has been unparalleled.
"We really hit a rough patch," she said. "Financially I couldn't make it. I had seasonal employment, and when I came here (Lodi House), they helped me get back on my feet."
Now, Tribbey lives in a bedroom with her daughter, just behind the thrift store where she volunteers.
She and three other women and their children will be able to live in the new house full-time after repairs like painting and building a partial wall to section off a part of the house for a workshop and training area.
Though Lowe's and a local church group have already started the renovation process, there is still much work to be done on the house, which was built in 1912.
The transitional home was purchased thanks to a set of donations that had been set aside a decade ago, along with other savings, said the organization's executive director Suzanne Mangum.
It will serve as a place for women who have "graduated" from the Lodi House rehabilitation program to move while they look for more permanent places to live.
Board members for the organization had been searching for a reasonably priced place to purchase for their transitional home, but nothing seemed just right until the house on Walnut Street came on the market in late spring.
Though boarders do pay a small renters fee, between $200 and $300 a month, a majority of the money the women accrue at their jobs can be saved for when they move out on their own.
"It's a big step for us, but it also ties everything together perfectly," Mangum said. "If the women who have graduated our program have a place to go it unclogs (Lodi House) and allows us to help more families. If we didn't have a place, then we get bogged up here and can't get the women through our program."
The organization will host an open house on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to not only show off the property, but to encourage community members to possibly help with some of the home's renovation projects.
"With Lodi House, the community really pitched in to make that space what it is today," said Mangum. "We want the community to continue to be a part of what we are doing."
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at email@example.com.